Ages & Stages: Pregnancy: Ten Secrets for a Great Birth

Labor, especially a mom’s first labor, is full of mystery. Every woman’s experience seems different. Some labor for hours, some deliver on the way to the hospital, but there are some consistent experiences and after talking to thousands of mothers, here are a few suggestions to help you have an easier childbirth.

1. When your labor begins, eat a high protein meal and continue to eat and drink fluids during labor to keep your strength up and to help reduce labor pain naturally.

2. Continue to drink fluids during your labor to prevent dehydration and to help naturally reduce labor pain.

3. Stay as active during your labor by standing, leaning, squatting, hands and knees position, walking or climbing stairs to make your labor easier and safer. By changing your position often you will be using movement and gravity to assist your baby to turn and rotate into the correct position for a safe and gentle labor and delivery. Constantly moving about during labor and delivery will help to reduce labor pain naturally.

4. Allow your labor to begin naturally. First-time mothers often need up to 42 weeks and longer for their baby to be completely developed. Artificially starting labor with induction drugs can cause your labor to become more painful and prolonged and can lead to a host of problems for mothers and babies.

5. Your partner and anyone you love can help to reduce your pain naturally just being present in the room with you. Make sure you pack extra high protein snacks and drinks for your partner in your overnight bag.

6. Hire professional labor assistance for emotional and technical support during labor, childbirth and later on for breastfeeding and newborn care assistance. A small investment can give you and your partner great rewards in increased health for both mother and baby. A professional labor assistant, like a doula, has techniques to help to reduce the pain of labor and delivery naturally.

7. Empty your bladder every hour to assist your baby’s descent.

8. Using the tub or shower frequently during labor and delivery will help to reduce pain naturally.

9. In the final stages of birth, a slow-controlled delivery in a squatting, hands and knees or standing position can help to increase the opening of the birth outlet, helping to avoid tears or episiotomy. You can use warm vegetable oil compresses to assist the lubrication of the birth outlet as the baby’s head begins to appear. A slow, controlled delivery will give you an easier and safer birth for both you and your baby.

10. Breastfeed your baby within moments of birth to take advantage of your baby’s instinctual urge to suck, which is the strongest immediately after birth.

Gail J. Dahl is the national bestselling author of “Pregnancy & Childbirth Secrets.” Visit the video Web site for more great secrets at: